You know the drill by now: an escalation occurs in the Gaza Strip that is automatically blamed on Palestinian fighters. The New York Times does it, as the Electronic Intifada’s Maureen Murphy points out, and now the Washington Post prints a story with a similar narrative.
Here’s how the Post reports on how the bombardment in Gaza started:
The latest round of fighting began Saturday, when militants from a non-Hamas faction fired an antitank missile at an Israeli jeep traveling along the Israel-Gaza border, injuring four Israeli soldiers. Israel responded with shelling and firing that Gaza medical officials said killed at least four people, including two children, and wounded about two dozen others. Militants then fired about 130 rockets and mortar rounds at population centers of southern Israel over several days. After mediation from Egypt, the flare-up appeared to have waned by Tuesday.
But that’s now how “the latest round of fighting began.” The Institute for Middle East Understanding published an excellent timeline that shows how the fighting actually began:
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8
Following a two-week lull in violence, Israeli soldiers invade Gaza. In the resulting exchange of gunfire with Palestinian fighters, a 12-year-old boy is killed by an Israeli bullet while he plays soccer.
Shortly afterwards, Palestinian fighters blow up a tunnel along the Gaza-Israel frontier, injuring one Israeli soldier.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10
An anti-tank missile fired by Palestinian fighters wounds four Israeli soldiers driving in a jeep along the Israel-Gaza boundary.
An Israeli artillery shell lands in a soccer field in Gaza killing two children, aged 16 and 17. Later, an Israeli tank fires a shell at a tent where mourners are gathered for a funeral, killing two more civilians, and wounding more than two dozen others.
As you can see, the escalation began when Israel killed a 12-year-old boy. The rockets and missiles fired in response were what the Gaza-based militant group Popular Resistance Committees called a “revenge invoice.”